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9 Top Workout Mistakes Men Make

Yesterday I wrote about how some of the top exercise mistakes that women make and now it’s time for the men to get their share. While many exercise myths and mistakes are shared by both genders, there are some mistakes that men seem to make more than women do. Let’s go over some of the workout mistakes that men make and need to avoid in order to get optimal fitness results.

man doing bicep curls

Trying To Be Like the Really Fit Guys

Let’s face it, there will always be someone who is stronger than you, bigger than you, with more muscles than you have. Too many guys believe that they’re also capable of what these guys, who have been training for a very long time, are capable of. So, they try to lift weights which are way too heavy or do exercises which they’re incapable of performing correctly. The result can be a serious injury and I’ve seen some instances of this with my own eyes.

You need to have patience and gradually increase your strength and ability. Don’t overestimate your own strength. It can be counterproductive.

Going Every Day

Exercise can be quite addictive. I know because I used to be one of those guys who visits the gym 6 times a week and spends an awful lot of time there. This is bad for both physical and mental reasons.

Mentally, going every day to the gym can quickly turn into a boring routine, something you do because you feel you have to and not because you want to. You may find that you start training half-heartedly and this is never good.

Physically, going to the gym every day leaves you with little time to rest between sessions. This means that you won’t be able to get all of your strength back from your previous workout and your future ones will suffer. In addition, your muscles won’t be able to recuperate and grow.

When you do strength training, you’re “tearing” down your muscles. When you rest you allow them to rebuild and become stronger. Going every day to the gym can make this hard to achieve.

Doing Isolation Exercises to Build Certain Muscles

You may be aching to build bigger biceps or work on those forearms. I have nothing against that. However, doing compound exercises is more effective, both in terms of fat loss and muscle development.

Isolation exercises like curls and triceps extensions, are great but they’re no match for chest presses, pull ups or push ups. They’re useful once you already have strength and a good growth and as finishing exercises. Don’t make them a primary part of your routine.

Compromising Form to Pack On More Weight

We all want to lift big. The bigger the better. This makes us feel good. It is this feeling which is responsible for one of the biggest exercise mistakes men make: sacrificing form for weight.

Not only is working with bad form risky, but it is also stupid and may lead to less optimal and unsymmetrical growth. You must not compromise on form. You need to build strength gradually and work with a load which you can lift correctly.

Talking Too Much (Usually to Women)

Are you into the hot chick doing bicep curls on the bench to the right? Do you like to chitchat with every pretty woman who trains at the same time you do?

Newsflash: the gym is not a dating website nor a nightclub. It’s not a place for socializing and picking up women, not if you’re serious about your workouts. Now, I’m not saying you should cut yourself off from the rest of the people at the gym, but you need to keep your head and not waste most of your time on talking. You need to stay focused on your workouts. Got it?

Not Timing Your Rests

One of the biggest factors which determine how effective your workouts are going to be are the rests you take between sets. They need to be short, 60 seconds is the usual recommended time. If you take too long to rest your body will get colder and the intensity of your workout will suffer. There is a clock at every gym. Use it.

Doing Heavy Lifting Without a Partner

Doing exercises like a barbell chest press without a spotter is asking for trouble. This is where working with a partner is a must. It’s stupid and dangerous to do this alone.

Working with a partner has many other benefits: you can push each other, correct form, and keep your fitness motivation high. If you don’t work with a partner, someone who is as eager about fitness as you, you may be missing out.

Not Doing Cardio

You probably want to build more muscle mass and you heard or read that doing cardio is bad for muscle building or that cardio makes you lose muscle. It’s not true. Cardio doesn’t burn muscle. What happens is that cardio burns calories and if you’re not eating enough, you can’t build muscles. You need a calorie surplus for that.

Is that any reason not to do cardio? NO. Cardio is recommended as part of a healthy fitness routine. I also happen to enjoy it. You just need to make sure that you’re eating enough and you will be fine.

You Don’t Train Symmetrically

Have you ever seen someone with huge pecs and weak back muscles? It’s not a pretty sight. They tend to be hunched over. It ruins their entire look. This is a result of improper training and lack of muscle balance.

You need to train in a way which works your opposing muscles evenly. This will help you keep a good posture and may prevent back pain. According to Dr. Kareem Samhouri, author of the Double Edged Fat Loss system, muscle balancing can actually make you burn more fat faster. So, train symmetrically and you will see better results.

Now, there are other gym mistakes that you may be making. I can’t say that I covered every single one of them. However, I believe that this post contains some of the top workout mistakes that men make and that if you avoid them, you will see much better results with your training.

Date published: June 30, 2012. Last modified: June 30, 2012


  1. Hey Jonathan great article. I’ve made several of these mistakes over the years. The one I have the hardest time with is the cardio. I’ve always been in to weight training and never liked cardio.
    I’ll have to find more activities I can do with the kids that will act as a cardio workout. Trick myself into doing it.

  2. Jonathan, I just found your website and I have to say this is a excellent article. Too many people go to the gym and act like its a nightclub or some type of social gathering. Also your point about taking too long rest periods is right on. Overall your points are right on, thank you for a great article.

    • Jonathan says:

      Hi Manny,

      Thanks a lot for the feedback. I’m glad you find the article useful. Hope to see you again soon.

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